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CLIVE GREGSON "People & Places" Demon Records Fiend CD 764

Clive Gregson has always given me the impression of being a very confident songsmith. Cleverly crafted lyrics and delightfully complementary melodies. It all seems so natural - but I am sure that for each gem which makes it to the studio a sizable number are consigned to the bin as is the case with the songs from most songwriters in this business. The process is probably beyond analysis (even though all songwriters are asked to dissect their work ad nauseum in every interview). In the case of the songs from the pen of Mr Gregson, some of them could be described as being constructed in a laboratory - such is their almost chemical effect on the emotions.

There is never a temptation to imagine Christine Collister singing any of the songs since none of them give any hint of having been written for her voice - or even adaptable to being sung from the female perspective. It's almost as if Clive Gregson is purposefully trying to stamp his authority on his solo career - and in the process setting his stall out for potential bookings. At least two of the songs are so catchy that I am sure they will be covered by other artistes by the end of the year. The rest are probably too personal for anybody else to cover.

My biggest problem with this album (if it is a problem) is that I find it impossible to listen to it in the middle of the day - it is however ideal for the shank of the evening when the emotions are more receptive and the brain cells in a more mellow mood. But then I am an old softie, and this well-produced, expertly performed album is tailor made for the likes of us. Mind you, the packaging of the album has been designed by psychotic photographic students on acid I would guess - but that sort of thing has never prevented me from buying good music in the past (just thought I'd mention it for those of you who take these things seriously).

Grem Devlin

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This album was reviewed in Issue 12 of The Living Tradition magazine.